From Library Journal
In keeping with the moral vision of psychiatrist, author, and DoubleTake co-founder Robert Coles, all of these stories focus on an awakening or transformation and most end on a healing note. It is unlikely that this new generation of writers will be distinguished by their optimism, however?most great practitioners of the short form take an appropriately dim view of human nature. That said, editors Ketchin and Giordano have certainly struck a vein of young talent. Aaron Cohen's wild helicopter ride over the Mississippi, "This Is Not a Joke Like Vietnam," takes its cue from noted pessimist Mark Twain. Thirteen-year-old Ryan has is heading downriver on a raft, fleeing his heroin-addicted father, who, with a war buddy and a bad case of withdrawal, sets off after him in a dilapidated chopper. In Tim Vanech's "White Flight," a teenager who witnesses a shooting in his public school demands to be sent to the prep school most of his friends attend. His father's refusal has more to do with his own idealism than with concern for his son's safety. The dueling voices brilliantly depict a generational collision of ethics, but here the child is weary and cynical and the parent is hoping against hope. This showcase of new authors is an exciting counterpoint to the more staid, seasoned annuals like O'Henry, Pushcart, and Best Short Stories. Here's hoping it's a yearly event.?Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Generational anthologies have proven themselves in the marketplace (if not among critics) as an effective way to introduce new talent, and this collection, put together by editors associated with the magazine DoubleTake, is no exception--the young writers here run the gamut from inept to elegant. The editors are so aware that their greatest find is Jason Brown that they include two of his stories among the 15--everyone else is represented by just one. Brown opens the volume with ``The Dog Lover,'' the story of a recovering junkie who can't bring himself to shoot his dying dog, as he is urged to do by his father, a blind Vietnam vet whose wife committed suicide. Despite the relentlessly bleak details, it's an uplifting piece about faith and fathers, and mirrors its companion ``Animal Stories'' (which closes the collection), about a young man's reflections on his dying mother's life and her refusal to accept treatment for her cancer. Religion and belief figure in many stories here, as do heroin, alcoholism, and madness. ``Indian Summer Sunday,'' by Creston Lea, brings all of it together in a tale of a minister's apostasy and his late-night drunk-driving before Sunday services. It's a far more convincing narrative than ``Asylum,'' a mental patient's ramblings. ``White Flight,'' by Tim Vanech, poses a social problem with clarity and intelligence, while ``Like a Crossing Guard,'' also a social study of sorts, never finds focus for its tale set at a juvenile detention center. Troubled families naturally figure in a number of pieces: an alcoholic mother in ``Flamingo,'' a feuding brood in ``Waiting Game,'' etc. ``Manna Walking,'' a short and moving vignette, concerns an Indian woman on the way home from the A&P who finds redemption and God's love in an ordinary event. Even if Brown is the only clearly distinctive new voice here, it's still a good introduction to young writers learning their craft. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.